Azg Armenian Daily
Sept 3 2004


ARMENIANS PERSECUTED IN IRAQ

IRAN'S PRESIDENT TO VISIT ARMENIA

ARKADY GHUKASIAN TO MEET ILHAM ALIYEV

"ARMENIA AGREED TO RETURN SIX REGIONS, EXCEPT SHUSHI AND LACHINE, IN
FEBRUARY, 1994" MAMEDRAFI MAMEDOV. "THE STRONGEST WINS THE WAR"

OPPOSITION TO BEGIN NO ARMED REVOLUTION

ART OF LABOUR

ASILVA'S WORLD OF CLEAR LINES AND COLORS

ASYLUM LEVELS AND TRENDS IN INDUSTRIALISED COUNTRIES

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ARMENIANS PERSECUTED IN IRAQ

Gevorg Khurbanian Threatened to Be Killed in Case of Working for
Americans

Basra is the second Iraqi city with major Armenian population after
Baghdad. The Iraqi Armenians who managed to flee to their motherland
tell that last week terrorists attacked the house of an Armenian,
murdered him, wounded his wife and robbed his house. And if there are
still Armenian families in Baghdad then there is hardly one in Basra.


It has been 3 months since Gevorg Khurbanian-Fahradian together with
his wife Zabel Martirosian and 4 children lives in Yerevan.

"My 20-year-old boy was on the edge of death 7 months ago. He was on
his way to buy bread when 3 masked people assaulted demanding money.
He suffered from his nerves for one month after this. Thanks to God
he was not killed. We could but leave the country", says Gevorg
beginning his story of Iraqi Armenians. Some days ago Gevorg's
brother who is still in Baghdad called him telling that their
district was bombarded and only miraculously his house were saved.
The brother himself cannot leave Iraq, as he owns several houses and
can't simply leave his possession for safety.

Gevorg says that there are also many poor people unable to leave Iraq
who have to live day by day with a fear in their hearts. He mentions
about Armenian organizations of America and Syria that regularly send
humanitarian aid to their compatriots.

"One cannot get out of the house after 7 p.m. if anyone is ill he is
destined to die as you cannot take him to hospital. Abduction is also
in full swing, and I am glad that my children are in safety in
Armenia", Gevorg explains. But the cost of safety was to be high:
Gevorg's family lives in a hired flat, which is paid by relatives
from abroad, they could find no job in the motherland no matter how
hard they tried and the future looms very dimly.

In Baghdad Gevorg used to be a manager in Italian and Holland
companies, had a high salary reaching 1300-1800 dollars. Armenians
were always treated well in Iraq but the war changed Iraqis attitude
to all Christians including Armenians.

Christians are outcasts in Iraq especially after the recent attacks
on churches. Many flee from the country. Iraqi terrorists threaten
Armenians and forbid working for the Americans. Gevorg himself was
threatened, and two others, Armenian and Assyrian, were killed for
not obeying.

The long-awaited motherland didn't greet them with outstretched arms,
but instead they often hear from compatriots discouraging words.

The Iraqi Armenians are perplexed at many things. For instance, they
don't understand how can someone's age hinder finding a job and that
a policeman demands money for selling fruits and vegetables on the
street. "You will never see such a thing in Baghdad. Armenian
specialists were better off than Arabs themselves. But there is no
job there either", says Gevorg.

There were 20 thousand Armenians in Baghdad before the war. Most of
them left for Syria, America, Holland, Germany. Neither Gevorg's nor
other families have been supported by the state after coming to
Armenia. The only aid was from the Red Cross, which is too little to
stay alive.

Regardless the states attitude towards them, Gevorg applied for an
Armenian citizenship for him and for his family. Now he waits.

By Karine Danielian

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IRAN'S PRESIDENT TO VISIT ARMENIA

Does it Interest States Outside South Caucasus?

The president of Iran Islamic Republic Mohammad Khatami will arrive
in Armenia on September 8 for a two-day official visit. President
Khatami visited Azerbaijan on August 5 and is going to visit Turkey
by the end of September.

Mohammad Khatami's visit to Azerbaijan is important for Armenia as
regard to the Karabakh issue discussed there and Azeris' indignation
over Iran's pro-Armenian policy. We can assume that Turkey will also
drive president Khatami's attention to these issues. Thus Mr.
Khatami's visit to Turkey should also be viewed as important for
Armenia.

The first vice-president Habibi's visit to Armenia in 1996 was the
first visit of a high-rank Iranian official ever paid. And now
Armenia is going to host the president of the republic. Armenia is
looking forward to maintaining closer ties with Iran after the visit.


A regular session of intergovernmental commissions of the two
countries is going to be held on the days of president's visit. Iran
will be represented at the session by the Minister of Economy and
Finances Safrad Hoseyn.

President Khatami is supposed to meet with Robert Kocharian, will
make a speech in the parliament, will visit the Yerevan State
University and will participate in arrangements for high-rank
officials. Taking into consideration Iran's influence and authority
in the region, president's visit should reach far beyond the borders
of Armenia. It will be important for Georgia, Azerbaijan as well as
Russia and Turkey. The USA should not be left out from this list as
it is Russia's rival in maintaining its influence in the South
Caucasus.

By Hakob Chakrian

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ARKADY GHUKASIAN TO MEET ILHAM ALIYEV

A Legend or A Necessity?

The president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev visits Nakhidjevan for the
second time during his tenure. During his last visit in May 12-14 the
Azeri president threatened that if the peace talk give no result then
"Azerbaijan will have to win the occupied territories back by force."
President Aliyev didn't threaten Armenia at his last visit on
September 2. He only said that the conflict resolution talks with
Robert Kocharian should carry on.

On September 1 the foreign minister of Armenia Vartan Oskanian stated
in his televised appearance that his last meeting with his colleague
Elmar Mamediarov in Prague on August 30 was the most efficient. Mr.
Aliyev's words that "there is a need for talks today and they
continue around concrete issues" come to supplement Mr. Oskanian's.

Yerevan occasionally repeats that the best point to start with is the
one reached by Robert Kocharian and late Heydar Aliyev. Kerry Kavano,
former co-chairman at the OSCE Minsk group, used to say that the
sides are incredibly close to the conflict solution. But Heydar
Aliyev turned down the agreement according to which Karabakh was to
be part of Armenia.

The issues being discussed today are perhaps known only to two
presidents and their foreign ministers, maybe also to Karabakh
authorities. Yerevan is willing to start the talks from the Key West
point but Baku is pressing on beginning from a new page.

The position of Nagorno Karabakh is not certain, as Stepanakert is
never asked for a voice. Although Robert Kocharian always mentions
that he represents also Nagorno Karabakh in the talks and that
Karabakh will join the talks at a certain point, in fact Stepanakert
has been a spectator since 1996. Karabakh's involvement in the
conflict resolution was reduced to Minsk group mediator's several
visits to Stepanakert.

In 1995-1996 we witnessed the three-way meetings. Armenia was
represented by Vartan Oskanian, Azerbaijan by Tofic Zulfugarov and
Karabakh by Arkady Ghukasian.

We have a different picture today. If Mr. Aliyev ventured to consider
his father's legacy as a starting point and if Nagorno Karabakh,
according to Key West agreement, was annexed to Armenia, then
Karabakh's position as a subject of confrontation would be justified.


But Karabakh's keeping off of the talks can also be justified in case
Karabakh gains its status of 1988. This is the case when Karabakh
remains without Armenian population, this is Azeris standpoint.

In all other possible versions of conflict resolution Karabakh's
direct participation in the talks is not only desirable but also
necessary. In 1993 due to talks between Stepanakert and Baku
cease-fire was reached along the whole frontline. The same year there
were more than 10 meetings between Karabakh and Azerbaijan
authorities.

Baku's desire for cease-fire at that time can surely be understood,
as Azeris were loosing one region after the other and there was no
other alternative. As soon as a cease-fire was declared Baku had no
further desire to speak to Stepanakert but rather turn to Yerevan.

If Baku is really willing to reach peaceful solution then sooner or
later it will have to consider Nagorno Karabakh Republic's de facto
existence. From this perspective, the meetings of presidents of the
two republics, Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan, will support not only
the conflict resolution but also will create an atmosphere of trust
between Armenians and Azeris. As long as the nations keep distrusting
each other neither of resolution alternatives will work.

By Tatoul Hakobian

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"ARMENIA AGREED TO RETURN SIX REGIONS, EXCEPT SHUSHI AND LACHINE, IN
FEBRUARY, 1994" MAMEDRAFI MAMEDOV. "THE STRONGEST WINS THE WAR"

Mamedrafi Mamedov, former Azeri Defense Minister, told in the
interview to the Zerkalo, Baku newspaper, that it was possible not
only to stop the military actions but also settle the Nagorno
Karabagh conflict in the February of 1994.

"The meeting of the defense ministers of the sides in conflict took
place in Moscow. A treaty was signed by me and the Armenian defense
minister. According to this document, the Armenians should have
withdrawn their forces from Aghdam and Fizuli in a month's time,
afterwards, in three months they should have left Zangelan, Kubatlu,
Jebrail and Kelbajar. The parties discussed the issue of Shushi,
Lachine and the status of Nagorno Karabagh. I reported about the
results of the meeting to Heydar Aliyev. For unknown reasons this
plan wasn't carried out," Mamedov said.

In response to the question whether the Armenian army was stronger
than the Azeri one, Mamedov said: "You can put this question this
way. But I can't agree with you. The stronger wins the war. The state
of the Azeri army during those years could bring no victory for us."

Mamedov expressed doubt about the viewpoint shaped within the
society, saying that, as if Armenians won the war but for Russian
arms and Russia' s assistance. "The Russian militants helped me much.
You just don't ask how they did it. I can't answer this question," he
said. By the way, Mamedov moved to Azerbaijan from the Russian army
in 1993. Heydar Aliyev asked Yeltsin to allow Mamedov to move to Baku
and lead the Azeri defense Ministry. In 1995, Mamedov again moved to
Moscow.

Mamedov answered the question saying that Russia rendered military
help to Armenia in the following way: "That was more politics than
military help. Russia was building its relations both with us and
with Armenia."

Mamedov emphasized with regret that he was against the plan
envisaging counterattack in direction of Kelbajar. But Ali Omarov,
Public Prosecutor, managed to conceive Aliyev that there is no
difficulty in conquering Kelbajar. " It's hard to say how many people
were killed then, I can't remember the exact number. My heart will
ache for the perished soldiers and officers till the end of my life,"
he said.

It's worth reminding that he spoke of the military actions began by
Azerbaijan in direction of Kelbajar in 1993-94 winter. Azeris lost
over 2000 soldiers in the battles that lasted two days. Armenians
lost over 500 soldiers.

On the other hand, Mamedov believes that "the population of Zangelan
and other regions should not have fled from their native villages,
they should have stayed and struggle in the war." Mamedov finds the
May 12 ceasefire resolution adopted in 1994 defensible. Till now some
people think in Baku that the war should not have been stopped. "We
were conducting military actions, then we stopped and began defense
actions. Thus, the enemy thought that we will have no force to attack
and that they can attack us too. In order to avert this we should
have accepted a ceasefire agreement," Mamedov said.

Former Azeri Defense Minister finds that his country needs no
American military stations. "I am sure that if American forces are
located in the republic, none will be able to talk of returning the
occupied territories," he said.

By Tatoul Hakobian

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OPPOSITION TO BEGIN NO ARMED REVOLUTION

The September 1 sitting of "Justice" union makes us think that the
opposition members will finally define the main components of the
autumn script. Victor Dallakian, Secretary of "Justice" faction, said
that they decided to settle the issue during the congress of the
parties involved in the faction. The congress is envisaged to take
place in the middle of September. The new situation will be discussed
and new decisions will be made during this congress.

Anyway, tactically applied measures (rallies, processions,
demonstrations and meetings with the population) were ratified during
this sitting.

The head of the faction said that the last decision of the Government
to eliminate the areas envisaged for the meetings with the population
didn't discourage them at all.

In reply to the notice made by Azg Daily, saying that the rallies are
not effective methods for struggle and the opposition should find new
ways for reaching their goals, Victor Dallakian said that there are
two ways of power shift: the first is through the people and the
second is through armed rebellion. He knows no other way of struggle
and they will settle the issue through the people. He is sure that
the wave of rallies is still strong.

Victor Dallakian assured once again that the opposition will ignore
the autumn session of RA National Assembly, as "no change that will
help us return to the parliament is made."

As for the constitutional reforms, he said that the current
authorities have no right to discuss such a package as the submitted
draft-law underwent only slight amendments. This draft-law was
rejected by the people in 2003.

Moreover, "the current authorities that have violated the
constitution for many times have no moral right to submit a draft-law
on constitutional amendments."

By Karine Danielian

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ART OF LABOUR

On September 2, Sonia Balasanian, founder of Center for New
Experimental Art, opened the exhibition of her works done during the
last 15 years at the same center. She considers this exhibition a
unique completion of her creative life, as she displayed pieces both
from her painting and video art.

"I tried to reveal the secret of the relations between the woman and
the man," Sonia Balasanian emphasizes.

Yeva Khachatrian, curator, coordinated and represented the pieces of
many years in various lines.

"The exhibition is entitled "Labour". Sonia Balasanian depicts the
birth, life and death of the woman and the man," Yeva Khachatrian
said.

The pieces exhibited in the Center for New Experimental Art have been
included in the exhibitions at New York contemporary Art Museum, as
well as in many other famous museums of the world.

By Arevik Badalian

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ASILVA'S WORLD OF CLEAR LINES AND COLORS

Asilva, French-Armenian artist, exhibited her pictures in Yerevan for
the first time. She exhibited her pieces in many countries and
received positive evaluation and prizes. Her pieces exhibited in the
Artists' Union were transparent and full of harmony. "Hollow,"
"Hope," "Ararat," "Light of Silence," "Obscure Light," and many other
pieces drew the attention of the viewers. "She has unique energy and
talent, and her exhibition in Yerevan was prepared with love and
devotion," Henrik Igitian said. He emphasized that today our
compatriots from abroad are dreaming of being exhibited in Yerevan.
This lessens the distance between Armenian and Diaspora. This first
step aimed to find each other are caused from inner necessity. The
artist's works are full of warmth and bright colors. She confessed
love to Armenia and France. Asilva's exhibition opened two days ago.
Art critic Shahen Khachatrian said that modern forms and the dynamic
architecture of these forms, as well as the harmonic colors draw
attention of the viewers. Arto Chakmakchian, Canadian sculptor, said
that the pieces are complete and he is sure that many people will
like them, as they are realistic."

By Melania Badalian

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ASYLUM LEVELS AND TRENDS IN INDUSTRIALISED COUNTRIES

Asylum levels in the industrialized world continue to drop sharply.
In 30 mostly industrialized countries 86,800 asylum applications were
submitted during the second quarter of 2004, 8 % less than during the
first quarter.

Asylum seekers from the Russian Federation, Serbia and Montenegro,
China, Turkey, India are still the majority. Armenia is on the 20-th
place. In the second quarter of 2004 as 1,188 asylum applications
were lodged in industrialized countries from Armenia. Looking at the
number of applications lodged in European countries, Armenia is on
the 18-th place (1,056 asylum applications).

Armenians lodged asylum applications in the following industrialized
countries:

Austria 97
Belgium 97
Bulgaria 29
Cyprus 9
Czech 20
Denmark 8
Finland 14
France 264
Germany 127
Greece 11
Hungary 8
Netherlands 48
Norway 10
Poland 5
Spain 17
Slovakia 35
Sweden 140
Switzerland 105
UK 5
USA 139
Total 1,188

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